A very enlightening article recently came out by Gallup reporting that the peoples’ approval of the United States Supreme Court is down to 40%, a new low. https://news.gallup.com/poll/354908/approval-supreme-court-down-new-low.aspx. This is very troubling and people in our country should be concerned. The article pointed out that Americans’ opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court have worsened, with 40%, down from 49% in July. This represents a new low in Gallup’s trend which dates back to 2000. According to the article, Americans’ opinions of the Supreme Court are now the worst Gallup has measured in its polling of the Supreme Court over the past two-plus decades.The September survey also shows a steep decline over the past year in the percentage of Americans who express “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the overall judicial branch of the federal government, from 67% in 2020 to 54% today. Yes, there are certain lightning rod issues that will spear opinions about the Supreme Court such as issues of abortion rights and gun laws and so forth, but there are other factors that come into play as well when Americans are expressing their confidence level (or lack thereof) in the federal judiciary. In fact, Gallup’s recent report of declining approval and loss of confidence in the federal judiciary is seen among all party groups, so it can’t be said that it is a “Democrat” or "Republican” or “Independent” thing, but it is actually an “American” thing across the board. The article pointed out that the job approval among each of the three party groups is either 12 or 13 points lower than it was a year ago. This is a bright red flag which underscores the need for an overhaul of the federal judiciary as it simply isn’t working to the satisfaction of the American people. The American people deserve better from the federal judiciary, plain and simple!
To have a well working federal judiciary that the American people will have confidence in, we must have federal judges who are honest and competent, and that certainly is a major concern. Judges take an oath of office solemnly swearing to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Unfortunately, there has been a major breach of this oath across the federal judiciary in many different very troubling ways. For example, Injustice Watch reported many disturbing things about Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. The article pointed out that Albert W. Alschuler, a highly respected law professor, wrote in a law review, “Judge Easterbrook persistently presents wildly inaccurate, made-up statements as unquestionable statements of fact,” and added “The truth is not in him.” https://www.injusticewatch.org/projects/2017/pattern-of-misstated-facts-found-in-probe-of-renowned-federal-judges-opinions/.
That led Injustice Watch to conduct a review of Easterbrook and the result was a documented pattern of misrepresented facts in Easterbrook’s opinions. Injustice Watch uncovered 17 cases since 2010 in which opinions authored by Easterbrook misstated the facts, omitted facts, or made assumptions that were contrary to the trial record. The article pointed out that in many cases Easterbrook’s errors seemed to play a significant role in the outcome.
In one opinion authored by Easterbrook, he brushed aside one convicted murderer’s challenge to his death sentence, which was based in part on the failure of his defense attorneys to present evidence that he had schizophrenia. Easterbrook wrote that the attorneys offered two specific reasons at a post-conviction hearing to explain their decision not to call an expert to the stand, but the transcript of that hearing shows that the lawyers gave no such explanation.
In another opinion Easterbrook refused to let another prisoner challenge his death sentence on the basis of government records showing that the defendant had an intellectual disability before the crime occurred. Easterbrook wrote that the records of his mental state were known to the defendant and his counsel long ago and could have been obtained sooner, but nothing in the record supported Easterbrook’s conclusion.
In another case, Easterbrook wrote in an opinion that there was not sufficient evidence to support holding two members of the Chicago Police Department responsible for events that led to the highly publicized rape of a mentally disturbed woman. But the federal judge hearing the case recited a cascade of evidence in the record before the panel that sharply contradicted the Seventh Circuit’s decision written by Easterbrook.
Injustice Watch documented the pattern of errors by reviewing the trial record, listening to tape recordings of oral arguments and interviewing attorneys. The review was then expanded to identify earlier complaints about the accuracy of what Easterbrook wrote. Easterbrook declined an interview to discuss the Injustice Watch review.
It was Easterbrook’s handling of one of the most high profile cases involving the conviction of former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan that caused Easterbrook to be accused of telling repeated “whoppers”. https://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=2397&context=vulr. In 1994, in evaluating Chicago-area federal judges, the Chicago Council of Lawyers wrote that at times Easterbrook “acts like the worst of judges” when he disregards law and facts, and went on to add that Easterbrook “appears less concerned about the actual facts and issues presented in the appeals before him than about advancing his own philosophy.” A Chicago Tribune article pointed out that the Chicago Council of Lawyers report, which was an evaluation of the Seventh Circuit’s federal appeals judges, devoted 12 pages to Easterbrook and noted Easterbrook’s “obvious contempt of those he finds below his intellectual level.” https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1994-02-22-9402220107-story.html.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers went on to state that Judge Michael S. Kanne “lacks objectivity or the necessary legal skills to serve with distinction.” Kanne is currently the subject of a judicial misconduct complaint I have submitted against him for fixing a decision from a civil rights case as disclosed by Judge Richard A. Posner, a highly acclaimed judge now retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Judge Posner was on the panel and upon his retirement decided to come clean and disclose the corrupted decision. Easterbrook was on the panel with Kanne. https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/995/750/66700/.
After reading about how Easterbrook operates in reportedly persistently presenting "wildly inaccurate, made-up statements as unquestionable statements of fact,” and that “The truth is not in him”, it is not hard to see how the decision was manipulated in the way it was to accommodate Kanne's fixing of the decision as revealed by Judge Posner. And the shenanigans continue on to this day as the chief judge, Diane S. Sykes, is currently involved in efforts to sweep the case fixing under the rug during the pendency of the judicial misconduct complaint against Kanne. It is very evident that Sykes and her cohorts are very worried about the stench of their judicial corruption activities in light of Judge Posner’s revelation about the case fixing activities. Kanne and Easterbrook have every reason to be nervous, along with Sykes.
Judge Richard A. Posner has publicly stated that America has a “very bad” judicial system, and even further stated “We have a very crappy judicial system....that contaminates much of government”. https://promarket.org/2017/03/28/richard-posner-real-corruption-ownership-congress-rich/. The problem is so bad that even the current Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, is believed to protect corrupt activities by federal judges. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/03/time-merrick-garland-was-accused-protecting-fellow-judge-charged-ethics-violations/. https://www.courierpress.com/story/opinion/2021/06/30/letter-corruption-civil-rights-case-alarming/7812191002/.
We should not be surprised that the American people have lost so much confidence in the federal judiciary. The time has certainly come for a major overhaul of the federal judicial system including eradicating judges who choose to misstate the facts, omit facts, makes assumptions that are contrary to the trial record and who persistently present "wildly inaccurate, made-up statements as unquestionable statements of fact,” as Easterbrook reportedly has been doing. It is unfortunate for our country that judges such as Michael S. Kanne who according to the Chicago Council of Lawyers “lacks objectivity or the necessary legal skills to serve with distinction.” are allowed to be on the federal judiciary. And it is unfortunate that as a country we have to put up with judges such as Diane S. Sykes who is currently attempting to sweep under the rug the case fixing information as to the judicial misconduct complaint against Kanne.
It is time for Congress to flex its muscle and push aside the forces of the judiciary that insists on maintaining the status quo, a status quo of ineptitude and even corruption. Unless Congress takes notice and does something about the problem, the American people will continue to be stuck with a federal judiciary that even Judge Richard A. Posner characterizes as a “very bad” and “very crappy" judicial system and confidence in the federal judiciary will continue to decline.